While the market is still getting used to the sale of Kite Pharma to Gilead Sciences for $12 billion, Arie Belldegrun, who was founder, chairperson, president, and CEO of Kite Pharma, has already been involved in another exit. The newly acquired company is Cell Design Labs (CDL), a company founded under Kite Pharma's sponsorship. Gilead Sciences will pay $132 million for CDL immediately and a total of up to $567 million, depending upon success.
Like Kite Pharma, CDL, founded less than two years ago, is active in CAR T cancer therapy in which is likely to be the next generation of the technology. Gilead's new acquisition is part of its efforts to control this field.
CDL's technology is like a switch that puts CAR T molecules into operation at specific times, and deactivates them the rest of the time. Shortly after CDL was founded, it already signed an agreement with Kite Pharm for the use of CDL's technology in Kite Pharma's products. The agreement also included an investment for 12.2% in CDL by Kite Pharma, and Belldegrun became a CDL director. He also invested personally in CDL, and so is personally benefiting from its acquisition.
CDL's technology is already being used experimentally in some of the products that Kite Pharma is developing, and its acquisition by Gilead Sciences was therefore almost a foregone conclusion. CDL has raised $34.4 million to date.
Gilead Sciences' acquisition of Kite Pharma was the largest ever acquisition of a pharma company with no sales revenue. The CAR T technology developed by Kite Pharma (and also by other companies, such as Novartis and Juno Therapeutics), is regarded as one of the most promising new technologies in cancer treatment. Belldegrun personally received over $500 million from the sale of Kite Pharma.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on December 10, 2017
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